With The National Week of Making, June 16-22, 2017, just around the corner, this is the perfect time to introduce you to Sasha Neri, a maker and shaker from the #ChicagoMakes scene. Sasha is a librarian with superpowers. Although her formal title is Librarian II at the Chicago Public Library, her role is that of creative director of the Maker Lab at the Harold Washington Library, the gem of CPL.
Sasha’s superpowers not only include the prowess to direct machines like the Carvey and 3D printers do her bidding, but she also the ability to empower the citizens of Chicago (and sometimes tourists just passing through) to do the same thanks to an inspiring blend of design thinking and technical skills.
The Maker Lab offers instructional programs, workshops, and open lab time for patrons ages 14 and up (or as young as 10 if accompanied by an adult). The Lab’s equipment includes 3D printers, a vinyl cutter, laser cutter and more. Though, as you’ll note in the video below, Sasha believes in the transformative power of low-tech making, too.
She is also a force behind Makers in Chicago Makers in Chicago, a guide to maker spaces and maker activities in Chicago. (You can also find family-friendly maker activities at our sister site, STEM Kids Chicago.)
I recently met at mHUB with Sasha to talk about her awesome job at CPL, how to get involved at the Maker Lab, and her maker philosophy, which is very much in line with her work at the library. Afterward, we ambled over to mHUB’s 3D printing room to make the first iteration of a sundial watch.